Sunday, August 23, 2009

Is Jonathan Broxton Gruntled or Disgruntled?

As you may have heard, Joe Torre pitched Jonathan Broxton in the eighth inning and George Sherrill in the ninth of yesterday's game. What was Broxton's reaction?

From the AP recap at

The manager said he didn't think Broxton had a problem with his decision, but the closer's body language indicated he wasn't thrilled.

"You still got three outs," Broxton said curtly.

And from Ken Gurnick at

Broxton said he had no problem with the early warmup.

"We won, so it doesn't matter," he said. "It was a big part of the game. I take the ball when they tell me to go out there and I don't complain about anything."

Both relievers got the job done, although each allowed two baserunners. Broxton is so soft-spoken that we'll never really know what's he's feeling, but kudos to Torre for a successful experiment that may pay dividends in the future.

photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers


Steve Sax said...

Gurnick further explained Torre's thinking in the article:

"But warming up in the eighth was All-Star Broxton, not Sherrill, and it wasn't a demotion. Torre wanted Broxton to face the heart of the Cubs' order.

""We had an opportunity to save the game in the eighth inning and I just couldn't resist it," Torre said. "Broxton struck out two last night and I basically decided to flip-flop them because of where they were in the lineup. It's a nice situation to have. We're not as concerned about who gets the stat as much as the only stat that's important, the 'W' in the left-hand side. The game dictates what you do, especially when you have options. If we don't have Sherrill, we don't do that."

"Broxton struck out the first batter he faced -- Milton Bradley -- and the last -- Kosuke Fukudome. The inning would have been stress-free if Kemp (starting his third game of the year in right field) hadn't lost Derrek Lee's fly ball in the sun, which put runners on second and third with one out. But Broxton got Aramis Ramirez to line out to first baseman Mark Loretta before fanning Fukudome.

"Sherrill allowed a one-out single to John Baker and a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Alfonso Soriano before getting pinch-hitter Ryan Theriot on a grounder to third to end it."

I hope Brox isn't bummed, and I commend Torre for making the move. Let's have all of our options available for the stretch run!

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

This is an example of the havoc designated bullpen roles creates. It was a very sabermetric thing to do, putting Broxton in to face the heart of the lineup when he would be neeeded most. If he can't handle that, he needs to grow some balls.

Greg Zakwin said...

Broxton only allowed one baserunner- the "double" Kemp lost in the sun. The other baserunner reached via a Haeger walk.

rbnlaw said...

I read in the Register this morning about FJL's reaction to being benched for yesterday's game.
Apparently, James asked Torre if he was being benched because he struck out 4 times last time he faced Ted Lilly.
Torre's reaction: "We can start there."

It is obvious that Loney is struggling. If this was May or June, then maybe you get him back up on the horse against Lilly, hoping he gets a hit and some confidence back. Unfortunately, it's late August, and the Dodgers don't have time to coddle a budding star and soothe his growing ego. The move made sense. I credit Torre for laying it out honestly to Loney.
Time for Loney to man-up and put some wood on the ball.

rbnlaw said...

I do realize I may have incurred the wrath of karina with my last post.

Kyle Baker said...

I think Brox just looks like he wants more donuts.

Eric Karros said...

If by donuts you mean zeroes on the scoreboard, I want broxton to have more too.

And did neeebs hack into mlasf's account?

Eric Karros said...

But I totally agree with what you said MLASF. The difference between pitching the 9th vs the 8th is given way too much weight because of the contrived stat attached to it.

It's all about the holds, baby.